A Right of Passage
Building a tree house with your kids is a right of passage where children learn valuable skills while exercising their creativity. Though you may not recreate a Swiss Family Robinson copy or a Frank Lloyd Wright marvel in the branches, you can design and build an architecturally sound structure with solid materials using basic engineering skills that should last long enough for your grandkids to play in. By using quality lumber, solid supports and beam force sensors, your tree house can be the envy of the block.
Where to Start
The first thing you will want to do is choose your tree(s). In an article on how to build a tree house published by Instructables, the author informs readers of the definite advantages in using more than one tree for your tree house and says that the tree house can be bigger and require less bracing if multiple trees are used. You will also want to consider height. Building the house too high in the tree poses two main concerns: one the height may make your child nervous and two the tree house’s stability won’t be as secure as if it were built at a lower height.
Use the Force
When constructing the tree house you will want to make sure it can support your child’s weight, as well as a good number of his friends. In order to do this you can test the amount of force the beams are supporting by using a small low profile beam force sensor. These can be purchased online, and when it comes to protecting your child’s safety, the small investment is well worth it. Using a scientific instrument to ensure the structure’s integrity is better than giving it the old stomp test—you stomp on it and if your foot doesn’t go through the floor, it is safe.
Tree House of Horror
Ensuring the safety of a child is every parent’s intention, but too many times children get injured from poorly built tree houses. In a study conducted by Ohio State University College of Medicine the realities of pediatric injuries from poorly built tree houses are revealed. The study examined tree house related injuries on a national scale. The article demands that tree house safety deserves special attention because of the potential for serious injury or death. Furthermore, there are no national or regional safety standards. In other words, a home inspector won’t be climbing up your child’s tree house any time soon. From 1990 to 2006 there were 47,351 young patients treated in the ER for tree house related injuries.
The solution isn’t to NOT build a tree house with your child. The tree house is a staple of an American tradition that exists between a father and son. It is typically when a boy is first exposed to a tool set, and a bonding ritual that should never be denied for safety’s sake is established. Rather, purchase a small beam force sensor so you will have absolute certainty when it comes to the structure’s integrity, and your child’s safety.